September 24 marks the beginning of Take a Child Outside Week, a national program to help children understand and appreciate the environment, and build enthusiasm for its exploration. Allowing children to play freely in nature helps them develop a sense of wonder about the world, improves their focus in school, and reduces the risk of obesity.
Take a Child Outside Week began in 2007, the brainchild of Liz Baird, an employee at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. After reading Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, she wanted to do something about the disconnect between children and nature. Since then, the event has grown throughout the United States and Canada with over 250 organizations participating. On their site you can: pledge to take a child outside and record your outdoor experiences, get ideas for outdoor activities, and find participating organizations in your area.
One of those groups in the San Francisco Bay Area is Children in Nature Collaborative (CINC), helping families restore their relationship with nature. CINC is getting families outdoors by promoting play days through October and sponsoring workshops for parents. Richard Louv will speak Friday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Foothill College in Los Altos.
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is one of many organizations hosting an informational booth before Louv’s talk. The District is a public agency whose mission is to preserve land as open space, protect the natural environment and provide the public with ecologically-sensitive recreation and education opportunities. The District’s twenty-four open space preserves, its seasonal kid-friendly Daniels Nature Center, and year round docent-led activities provide many ways for Bay Area families to get outside and play in nature; a simple act with the power to create healthy children and communities.